Godin’s humbucker and thinned the Reverend’s
corpulent neck pickup tones—it didn’t take
long for me to find the right setting for my
playing: cranked all the way clockwise.
Why? I favor a full, fairly bright amp sound
because I tend to use my bridge pickup and
shape my tone by varying picking-hand attack.
For instance, I love being able to use one amp
and pickup setting to really lay into a taut
E-string riff that works for punk and hardcore
or lean “Helter Skelter”-style rock, switch to
hybrid picking for twangy Junior Brown- or
Danny Gatton-style licks, or sandwich the
pick between my index finger’s first and third
knuckles and use the rest of my digits to
fingerpick Brian Setzer-approved chords or
rhythms where I use the edge of my picking
hand for percussive syncopation. With the
Valpreaux, I was able to do all that and more
with Tone all the way up.
What’s interesting about the Valpreaux’s
Tone knob isn’t just that maxing it removes it
from the circuit and yields a full sound with
plenteous treble and a midrange that’s present
but not strident—it also brings in glorious texture, character, and gain.
Speaking of gain, after a few weeks of play-
ing the amp with my band, Goodsell emailed
me to mention that he felt the Valpreaux really
shines with the Gain control near 3 o’clock.
He also said the amp was “consistently remark-
able” with old Teles that have brass saddles.
Interestingly, I had already arrived at both
conclusions on my own. Though I enjoyed
playing all my test guitars through the amp, I
have never heard my Tele sound better than it
did through the Valpreaux with Tone maxed
and Gain and Volume a hair under 3 o’clock.
The treble response was among the sweetest I’ve
ever heard, and I really can’t imagine a better
gamut of tones being available using the various
picking techniques I mentioned earlier. Even
when I was thrilling to meaty chord inversions,
the Valpreaux and Tele somehow sounded
scathingly mean and gorgeously refined—not
unlike Page’s tone in the middle section of
Likewise, the Tele’s middle-position tones
sounded lusciously bell-like, while neck-pickup
tones sounded fat and juicy—perfect for any-
thing from bluesy bends to Tom Morello-style
riffery. With the Godin’s humbucker and the
Reverend’s fat-sounding P-90s, the Valpreaux
had a little less of that sparkling magic, but
both still sounded quite good. I preferred split-
ting the Schecter’s mini-humbuckers to decrease
the midrange and get a little more spank.
The Goodsell Valpreaux is one of the most
enjoyable amps I’ve played in years, and I’ll
probably cry when it leaves our office. That said,
it wasn’t without its shortcomings: The delightfully long power cord never fell out during use,
but it was loose enough that I lost power a few
times when I adjusted amp position. And though
the reverb was beautiful, it couldn’t touch the
depth and sloshiness of a classic Fender tank.
Reverberations sounded distant and subtle
even when it was all the way up. I preferred my
Strymon Blue Sky Reverberator, which sounded
like liquid heaven through the amp.
Even with these slight niggles, the
Valpreaux earns huge kudos. A lot of
affordable 6V6 designs are coming onto the
scene these days, so it’s easy to look at this
box’s price tag and think its steep. But when
you compare the Valpreaux against the more
accessible 6V6 options—and I have, side by
side—you quickly hear the difference. It’s like
fast food vs. a spread cooked by an Iron Chef:
Both fill the empty space, but only one incites
ecstasy that stays with you forever.
you crave delectable blackface
tones, amazing tremolo, and
ecstatically sweet high end.
you prefer more precise EQ-ing and
or use a mobile device to read
this QR code to watch a video
review of the amp at